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Tensions Rise Between Teva CEO and CFO

Tensions Rise Between Teva CEO and CFO [Globes, Tel Aviv, Israel]

From Globes (Tel Aviv) (August 6, 2012)

Aug. 06--Top sources at Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (NYSE: TEVA; TASE: TEVA) tell "Globes" that there have been tensions for several months between new president and CEO Dr. Jeremy Levin and CFO Eyal Desheh. Desheh’s responsibilities include investor relations, a post he has held for four years.

Desheh previously served as Teva deputy CFO in 1989-96, under then-CFO Dan Suesskind, before leaving. He served as CFO of Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. (Nasdaq: CHKP) in 2000-08 before returning to Teva as CFO. The sources say that Desheh is frustrated by his current standing at Teva, in part because of an unusual move that Levin is leading: he intends to outsource investor relations from Desheh to an US company, or to have another person at Teva handle them.

Both Suesskind and Desheh were always responsible for the company’s investor relations, and outsourcing them is a blow to Desheh’s standing at the company.

The sources say that this is not the only source of tension between Levin and Desheh. Levin has made a number of executive changes at Teva, bringing in close associates from his previous positions at the expense of Teva veterans. Desheh is reportedly unhappy at these appointments, and he views them as harming his standing at the company. He is one of the few Israelis among Teva’s top executives.

Last Thursday, Levin announced the appointment of Dr. Carlo De Notaristefani as president and CEO of global operations, a new post at the company; and Aharon (Arik) Yaari as EVP of the newly created community and institutional affairs. De Notaristefani came from outside Teva; he was recently a top executive at Levin’s old firm, Bristol-Myers Squibb Inc. (NYSE: BMY).

Some Teva sources say that Desheh may quit Teva, but others say that this will not happen anytime soon. They say that it would be extraordinary for both the CEO and CFO of a company to change within a year, especially at a multinational like Teva. The sources add that if Levin wants to replace Desheh, he would have done so when he took up his post in May. Desheh’s current four-year stint at Teva is close the five-year average for top executives at the company.

Teva said in response, "The relationship between Teva CEO Dr. Jeremy Levin and CFO Eyal Desheh is excellent and based on mutual respect and commitment. Desheh considers himself committed to Levin and Teva. We see it fit to completely deny these rumors, which try to depict a different situation."


(c)2012 the Globes (Tel Aviv, Israel)

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Posted: August 2012